Just a Breath Away

By Colleen

 

This is an alternate uber story. The physical descriptions of the two lead characters may remind you of two others we all know and love, but all characters in the story are from my own imagination. This story is an original work and is copyrighted by the author. It cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copyright July 2009

This story depicts a loving relationship between two consenting, adult women and contains scenes of intimacy, but nothing too explicit. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read something else.

Feedback will be welcomed at coleen30@webtv.net

I have also created a group for discussions of this, past and future stories. Join us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/colleens_corner

 

Chapter 2

 

“Sorry Mom,” Carson said morosely as she slipped back into the passenger seat of her mother's car. She had been back home for just over a week and had insisted on looking for a house right away. She'd already seen five places, but none had appealed to her.

 

“It's okay Honey. We'll find you a house.” Del Galloway was a real estate agent, and had been for over twenty years. She was quite successful in spite of the revolving housing market. Del knew there were plenty of nice, affordable properties available in the central Illinois town, and that eventually her daughter would find something she liked. But Carson was still grieving her lost relationship, and her heart just didn't seem to be into the task of house hunting. In her negative mood, she was only seeing the things wrong and nothing that was right or could be right with a little redecorating. “I'll check for new listings tomorrow morning,” Del told her. “There's no rush for you to move, you know. Your father and I love having you back home. There's plenty of room at the house; we're not crowded at all.”

 

“I know,” Carson said as they traveled back to her childhood home. “And I love you and Dad for helping us out this way. But I really need to get back on my own two feet as soon as possible.”

 

“I know.” Del patted her daughter's arm. “And I understand. Just one thing; I'm not letting you move more than a few miles away. We're just getting to know our grandson and I intend to have him nearby. As a matter of fact, let us watch him tonight and you go see a movie. See something you can get lost in for a couple of hours, so you don't have to worry about anything.”

 

Carson pondered the idea. She was already a little lost, but the time alone might just be the right thing. “That sounds good Mom. He needs to spend some time away from me now and then. And I'm about to say something most parents wouldn't say. Logan could use a little spoiling. He was neglected by his birth mother most of his first six months.”

 

“Well, that's not going to happen anymore. You and Logan need some extra attention while your hearts heal. Dad and I are here for you.”

 

“I know. I love you Mom.”

 

* * *

 

Carson was lucky in that she had a job lined up, ready to start in six weeks. She really wanted to be in a new house by then, but that was expecting a lot. She had plenty of savings and a substantial down payment available, so at least she didn't have any financial worries. She didn't really have to be concerned about anything; she had money, a nice place to live and the support of her family. As her mom had said, there was no timetable. Still, Carson felt stuck in time. She couldn't even begin to fathom going forward with her social life…her love life. The painful lessons she'd learned in her relationship with Carol had definitely left a barrier around her heart. And beyond that, just her ability to trust was deeply dented and in need of a very long repair time. And she felt like that hadn't even begun. Maybe being on her own and solely responsible for herself and her son was what it would take to kick start her life.

 

Even a simple thing like getting dressed for a night alone at the movies seemed like a daunting task. Finally, she chose a simple red sweater to go with her stonewashed jeans. Sweats would have better fit her mood, but she knew her mother would have had a fit if she left the house in such depressing attire. Carson studied herself in the mirror as she brushed her shoulder length hair. The green eyes that looked back were dull and nearly lifeless. She hadn't really smiled in weeks and laughing was out of the question. The one exception to both of those was her son. Only Logan could reach her heart at this point. Carson pinned herself with a hard stare and recited a short lecture. “You are leaving this house tonight, Carson Galloway. You will pay attention to the sights and the people around you. You've spent too long in isolation. Logan needs an emotionally healthy mother.” With a deep breath, Carson walked out of her room and into the first night of the rest of her life.

 

* * *

 

Carson had already chosen to see a comedy, hoping to brighten her mood. It was a Friday night and the theater was moderately crowded, mostly with teenagers, anxious to see the new slasher movie. What adults that were milling around the lobby seemed to be paired off. She never noticed things like that before, just taking couples for granted. But they all looked happy. Of course, to other people, I bet we looked happy. No, don't do this, she told herself. Loneliness is a state of mind . With a shake of her head, Carson headed for the ticket taker, but then stopped, debating a trip to the snack bar. She hadn't had a lot to eat at dinner, despite her mother's delicious cooking. And the smell of the buttered popcorn was enticing. Carson stood back from the forming lines and eyed the menu board. I certainly don't need the jumbo bucket just for me, she thought sarcastically. She and Carol hadn't gone to a movie together since they had started dating. One exception was the movie premiere Carol had won tickets to, right after she had gotten pregnant. But Carol was so busy trying to rub elbows with the celebrities that Carson had left, unnoticed, halfway through the movie. Finally deciding on her food choice, Carson moved into the long refreshment line and waited.

 

“Do you believe these prices?”

 

Carson turned sharply at the sound of the voice beside her. “I…ah…I wasn't even paying attention. It's been so long since I've been to a movie. But as with everything the price goes up.”

 

The tall woman beside her stepped forward in her line. “I come here a lot,” she said, “and it seems to me as if it goes up by at least a few pennies every couple of weeks.”

 

“Maybe we should boycott,” Carson suggested.

 

The dark haired lady leaned over and whispered. “Or sneak our own food in.” She winked a blue eye and went back to her place in line. After they had made their separate purchases, they happened to be headed in the same direction. The nice stranger stopped and let Carson hand over her ticket first. Once inside the barrier, the smiling woman said, “Enjoy your movie.”

 

Carson nodded. “Thanks. You too.”

 

Nearly two hours later, Carson left the theater feeling just the tiniest bit lighter. The movie had been good and she had even managed to laugh a time or two. Pulling her heavy coat a little tighter, she stopped to breathe in the chilled air before getting into her car. After four years in sunny California , the cold was taking some getting used to again. But somehow it invigorated her. The short drive home got her there just in time to see to her son's midnight snack. Watching his cute face, Carson hummed as he sleepily sucked down his formula, which he seemed to enjoy as much as he had mother's milk. Carson was determined not to get back onto that train of thought. Ruminating over the problems wasn't going to change the past. All of her tomorrows were the only important things.

 

* * *

The house search was on hold temporarily, until some new properties became available. Carson spent the time with her son and parents. One Sunday, she went shopping for baby things because her son was growing like a weed. He was going to have the first appointment with his new pediatrician the next day.

 

On Monday morning, Carson got up early, cleaned up the baby and went to the kitchen to feed Logan his cereal. She loved caring for her son's every need, but she did have to admit it was a bit of a challenge trying to get her own breakfast while feeding him. Deciding on hot cereal for herself too, Carson popped it in the microwave and then embellished it with a little honey and some healthy nuts. Feeding herself left handed, they were both satisfied in short order. Her parents had already left for their day's activities, so the two of them had the house to themselves. Carson carried her little man to the big window overlooking the backyard, loving the solid feel of him in her arms. Many kisses were applied to his face as she relayed tales from her childhood playtimes. The fort her father had built for her and her siblings was still standing, but sporting a few patches and in need of a new paint job. Both of her parents had been great providers, but never extravagant. They were, however, very attentive and loving to all three of their children; hugs and kisses were given generously. Carson loved her parents very much. She only hoped that her son would never resent being the only child of a single parent. She was determined to give him the very best and to teach him to appreciate everything he had.

 

During Logan 's morning nap, she enjoyed a hot, leisurely shower, adding in some aroma therapy for some personal rejuvenation. After the indulgence, Carson got about a chapter read of a new book she had gotten at the library. But a tiny gurgle from the small monitor at her side soon turned to grunts and squeals, demanding attention, mainly lunch, but a clean diaper was also probably due.

 

In just about ten minutes, Logan was dry, and sitting in his high chair, banging on the plastic tray in front of him. “How about peaches today, little man?” Carson asked as she surveyed the stacks of packaged baby food in the pantry. Logan was a good eater and rarely refused anything offered to him. He had even started eyeing whatever food was on his mother's plate. She had experimentally let him try mashed potatoes the night before and he was crazy about them. But for his current lunch, Carson slipped a spoonful of pureed fruit into his beckoning, toothless mouth. “Are you gonna be good for your new doctor today?” The question was, of course, rhetorical since he was only five and a half months old. But Logan started bouncing in his seat just then, causing his head to bob up and down, and giving him the appearance of answering positively. Carson laughed and wiped his chin. “What am I saying; you're always good, aren't you?” Logan slapped the tray again in agreement.

 

Going to her bedroom, where his crib and the rest of his things were, Carson moved to the soft floor and let Logan practice his balancing. He was just about ready to sit up on his own. Another milestone that she would enjoy alone. Your birth mother is a total fool, not to recognize the treasure she had in you. Carson lifted his dozen plus pounds and turned him to face her, kissing his chubby cheek. “I love you Logan . You will always know that and nothing on Earth will ever change that.” More kisses followed the pronouncement and laughter soon filled the little room.

 

After a story and a bottle, Logan went down for another short nap. Carson read more of her book while she waited. The mystery was intriguing, but every now and then, one of those pesky, morose thoughts would intrude on her enjoyment. But she was learning how to quickly evict them from her mind. Her heart was another matter. She knew she was no longer in love with Carol. If she had been, she would have tried harder to make it work. But she did still love her. The kind of love she had felt at first, for the friendship they had forged. Those memories were good. Carol was considerate, loving, and they had a lot of fun. She never really would understand what had happed to change everything. So dwelling on the negative past was also banished. Carson always knew she would be fine on her own; she never needed a partner to survive like some others. The only thing she wanted was to be loved. Completely and honestly. But her doubt at ever being able to recognize that was growing with each passing day.

 

* * *

 

Upon waking, a bath was next to get Logan all clean and sweet smelling.

Carson dressed him in a tiny pair of jeans, an even tinier pair of hiking boots and a sage green turtleneck with moose heads dancing across the chest. He made an adorable picture. So Carson took his picture with her ever present camera. In fact she snapped several. The photo albums were still packed away, but once she got settled, Carson was going to be a busy girl, just catching up with everything.

 

Pulling on the baby's warm coat and with a quick goodbye to grandpa, Carson drove the six miles to the new medical office building. She was lucky and got a parking space fairly close to the front door. Gathering up the baby and the stuffed diaper bag, she headed inside, very glad that her destination was on the first floor. The pediatric partnership was shared by three doctors, Dixon , Porter and Kline. Sheila Porter was Logan 's new pediatrician. Carson had already arranged for his medical file to be sent to Dr. Porter. She had come by recommendation from his California pediatrician, so Carson expected her to be an excellent doctor. She just hoped that the woman would turn out to be nice.

 

Stepping into the reception room, Carson was instantly impressed with the bright and lively décor. A small television in the corner was playing a Disney movie, with the sound low enough as not to disturb the rest of the room. A big selection of toys and books were scattered about the floor in another corner. And Carson carefully watched as an aid kept track of which toys were played with and those items were removed to be disinfected as a precaution, once the patient was called in. Carson liked that. Even though right now, Logan was too young to play with any of those things, it gave her confidence for future visits.

 

Carson was given a new patient document to fill out with personal and insurance information. Bored, Logan began to struggle on her lap as she attempted to write down the necessary answers. “Easy baby,” she soothed. “Just let mommy do this and I'll get you a toy.” She started to bounce him on one knee, but that made the writing difficult. Logan tried to help himself to that toy and reached into the diaper bag, but his little fingers couldn't get a grip. While trying to steady him and grab for the falling toy, the clipboard tumbled to the carpeted floor. Carson blew out a frustrated breath.

 

A hand beat her to the fallen papers. “Here, let me help you with that.”

 

Carson expected to look up and find another mother, but instead saw a tall woman dressed in scrubs covered in swimming sea creatures. She immediately believed this to be a nurse. “Thank you. I need at least two more hands it seems.”

 

“May I hold him, while you finish filling that out?” the woman asked.

 

“That would be a great help.”

 

“Hi handsome,” the happy lady said as she had a seat right beside his mother. Retrieving the toy he had wanted, she began playing with the restless tot, talking to him and his mother. “You are a big boy. What are you, about six months?”

 

“In about a week,” his mom answered.

 

“I hope he's not sick; he certainly looks healthy.”

Logan giggled. Carson smiled. “No he's fine. We just moved here and this is just a routine first visit.” She smiled at the pair. “He likes you,” she said, finishing up with the paperwork.

 

“Well, I certainly like him.” They played some more as Carson returned the papers to the reception desk, just a few feet away.

 

She came back and sat down, accepting her son back into her arms. “Thank you again,” she said.

 

“Glad to help,” the woman said, graciously. “Did you enjoy your movie?”

 

Carson 's head came up at the odd question. But she finally got a good look at the woman, now remembering the encounter at the theater just a few days before. “I'm sorry; I didn't recognize you. But yes I did.”

 

“Logan Galloway,” the receptionist called.

 

“Guess it's our turn.” Always friendly, Carson said as she walked away, “We'll probably see you here later. Bye.”

 

They were led to a room painted in sunny yellow, where they waited for just a few minutes. A woman, about Carson 's height, but about fifteen years older came into the room with a cheery smile. Extending her hand, she introduced herself. “I'm Doctor. Sheila Porter. It's nice to meet you Ms. Galloway.”

 

“And you Doctor Porter.”

 

The doctor lifted Logan into her arms and spoke softly to him. After undressing him down to his diaper, she placed him onto the scale. “I see from his records that his last appointment was a month ago. Any trouble with his asthma or anything else you think I should know about?”

 

“No, thank God. He's been his jolly self.” The exam proceeded swiftly, but thoroughly in Carson 's estimation. She really liked this woman and was sure Logan would be a permanent patient.

 

Redressing him herself, something his previous doctor hadn't done, Porter handed him back to his mother. Logan was quiet now, his eyes beginning to droop. A nap was not far off. “Everything seems fine with your little guy here.” She scribbled out something on a pad of paper. Tearing off the top sheet, she handed it to Carson . “Here's a new prescription for his asthma medication. If you have a few more minutes, I'd like you to meet my colleagues. You might need to see one of them if I'm ever not available.”

 

Carson nodded. “Of course; I'd like that.” Another point in their favor, in Carson 's estimation.

 

The doctor returned quickly with her two partners in tow. Gesturing to a thirty something, handsome, bearded man, Porter introduced him as Doctor Joseph Kline.”

“It's nice to meet you Ms.Galloway, and you too Logan . I hope I can be of service if you ever need my help.” His attitude was naturally flirty, but not romantically so. He stepped aside, fully revealing the third partner.

 

It was another woman. She smiled brightly and introduced herself. “Hello, I'm Doctor Drew Dixon.”

 

“Well, now I have a name to go with the face,” Carson said brightly. This was the woman whom she had previously mistaken for a nurse in the reception area. It was also the first time she noticed specifics about the woman, other than her notable height. Dr. Dixon had a very short, but stylish haircut with locks the hue of a starless sky at midnight . Beneath the dark hair was a face with sharp and appealing features, and eyes like pale ice chips, but which radiated with the warmth of the sun.

 

“As do I Ms. Galloway,” Dixon said. “I see Logan is about to go out for a nap.”

 

“Yeah, he's had a busy day.” Carson stood, cradling the sleepy babe in her arms. The bulky diaper bag dropped from her shoulder.

 

Once again Dr. Dixon stepped in with heroic efforts. “Here, I'll get that. I was just about to head out, why don't I take it to your car?”

 

“That's not necessary.”

 

“I want to help. Please.”

 

“Well, thank you.”

 

The other doctors had already excused themselves, and Drew followed Carson back to the reception desk, where she grabbed her own brief case and waited for the mother to make the next appointment. With that done, the two ladies and one sleeping baby moved out to Carson 's car.

 

Drew handed over the diaper bag, which Carson tossed onto the floor of the backseat. The blonde mother then maneuvered the slumbering boy into his baby seat.

 

“Since it looks like we go to the same theater,” Drew said, “we could take in a movie together sometime.” By the lilt in her voice, she was unmistakably asking for a date.

 

Carson was buckling Logan securely into the seat, thankful that the nice woman couldn't see what was sure to be the terrified look on her face. She fumbled for something to say. “Uh, well, I'm really busy, looking for a house. And I'm gonna be starting a new job soon.” Finished with the fasteners, Carson slipped into the driver's seat. “But if I find the time and we happen to be there at the same time, yeah we could do that.” Well, that was a stupid answer. But I just can't think about dating right now.

 

Drew smiled subtly. “Sure,” she said, only slightly disappointed. “I'll look forward to it.”

Carson nodded congenially, started the car and pulled out of the parking spot. She saw Drew wave from her rear view mirror.

 

To be continued...

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